(SL) – Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is on the 15th but, it is celebrated like other floating holidays under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, and always the 3rd Monday in January, so today we honor the legacy of Dr. King. King cited 3 plagues – racism, poverty and war. It’s been over four decades since his death but his words, actions and principles still shape activism to this day. He is the Icon of Democracy. And so much more than “the speech”. Dr. King had a dream, yes, but he was an organizer and they don’t talk much about everything he did up until the Voting Rights Act either. He stood up for the marginalized and against injustice. He is the pure definition of the civil rights movement. Dr. King set the standard and we just have to keep moving.
As Rev. William Barber the III said, “Bringing together blacks and whites and Latinos, and Jews and Christians and Muslims. But doing it in a way that takes race and class seriously and does not separate them.”
Having been arrested thirty times, Dr. King routinely threw his body upon the gears of the machine to show that change doesn’t roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but through continuous struggle against institutionalized injustice.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1964, during a time when black people could barely get a public sip of water. His messaged crossed the borders of the world. From Atlanta, GA to as far away places as Olso Norway, again he is the Icon of Democracy.
The US government called Dr. King the most “dangerous Negro leader in the country”, routinely spied on him and reportedly even went as far as writing him a letter in 1964 urging him to commit suicide.
He was assassinated on April 4th, 1968, in Memphis TN. MLK Jr.’s surviving family filed a civil suit in Memphis, TN, in which the jury found elements of the US government complicit in his assassination.
It’s been noted that when MLK was assassinated he was planning the “Poor People’s Campaign” – a mass march and occupation of DC until the US government granted poor people an “Economic Bill of Rights”.